I had never really spent any significant time with anyone who had special needs before my daughter Ellie was born. We were told about her Down syndrome diagnosis while I was pregnant and I spent a lot of that time hoping, wishing and praying that I could change her.
I read books and blogs and talked with other parents of kids with disabilities in an effort to get comfortable with the fear of the unknown. I met so many people who were excited to tell me about their extraordinary children (or friend’s child, grandchild, student, etc.). And each of them was ready with open arms to welcome me into the fold.
I learned so much about what people with disabilities can do – many of who are doing more meaningful work than your average typical person. While I was still very scared, making these connections provided hope that I could take with me to the hospital when Ellie was born.
Once I got to know my daughter, my perspective changed and I learned that Ellie is Ellie and she has just as much to offer as anyone else. I want her to stand up and be counted, find what she is passionate about and live the life she wants to live. I realized that instead of changing her, the real challenge is in changing the world.
The stories I have heard and the people I have met are too good not to share. Everyone has something of value to offer. Everyone has a lesson to teach. Each person is important and unique. And I believe we will all be benefitted by knowing these incredible people.
I am very excited to launch a new project with the help of Little Rock Family magazine called “Extraordinary: A Typical Day in a Special Life.” The first profile is in the November 2020 print issue of Little Rock Family. Future profiles will be posted online and on this Typically Not Typical blog. (Look for the word “Extraordinary” in the top right corner.)
If you know of any extraordinary people I can learn more about, please send me an email at email@example.com.
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